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Thursday, September 13, 2007
posted by Anonymous | 2:37 PM | permalink
Fred Thompson is having a difficult time trying to run against Washington because too often, he is actually running against, well... himself.

His discussion of the No Child Left Behind Act is just another example...

The Issue: "'We've [emphasis added] been spending increasing amounts of federal money for decades, with increasing rules, increasing mandates, increasing regulations,' Thompson said." Yes, you have.

The Problem: "'No Child Left Behind — good concept, I'm all for testing — but it seems like now some of these states are teaching to the test and kind of making it so that everybody does well on the test — you can't really tell that everybody's doing that well. And it's not objective,'" Yes, when you require kids to know math for the test, teachers tend to teach well... math.

The Solution: "Instead, he said the federal government should be providing block grants as long as states set up objective testing programs. He said his message to states would be, 'We expect you to get objective testing done and publicize those tests for the local parents and for the local citizens and suffer the political ramifications locally if things don't work out right.'" Everyone make up your own test, we'll give you the money no matter how bad you do.

You can also see Thompson complain about the problems of the No Child Left Behind Act on his Principles of Federalism page of his website.

Sound like a good Federalist? There's a little problem though: Thompson voted for the No Child Left Behind Act!

There is a current debate about the re-authorization of the No Child Left behind Act. Some people for, some against. Romney has supported the goals of federal testing:

"'We all want to be successful based on our rhetoric, not actual, measurable results, and I'm afraid that in the world marketplace, our kids are only going to be successful based on their performance, and that requires measurement,'"

"He added: 'I think the president was right to insist on measurement. I think the measurements themselves have a long way to be perfected, and a lot of room for improvement.'"

The problem with Thompson's approach is you eliminate any benefit to the program while still spending the federal dollars. If you are going to get rid of federal standards, get rid of federal funding and let the local government decide.

Since my wife taught in public schools, I am sensitive to the complaint that the desire of districts to keep the federal funds has made the federal department of education the de facto arbiter of curriculum. But we need a talented and skilled workforce to compete in the 21st century and I know Romney understands this from his business experience and that his time as Governor helps him to understand the practical interplay between the federal government and the states on this important issue.

On the other hand, I expect someone who is trying to convince me that the expansion of federal education spending tied to testing standards violates principles of federalism to not be responsible for the very program they are complaining about. "Shucks, that bill I voted for, it's awful. We should scrap that one." Thanks for reading beforehand, Senator.
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Fred's a mess. When will this start catching up with him (his poll #s)?

Unfortunately, probably not until a couple of weeks before the first primary, as most primary voters in most states do not follow the candidates - YET. For instance, only 45% of those knew Mitt won the Ames. Only 20ish% could identify Rudy as the only pro-choice candidate in this side of race. And all of those are with the media bombardments we have had!

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